Monday, October 5, 2015

Video Game Missionaries

Next week will be Alex's one year mark on a mission, even though the first 2 months were in the Provo MTC. Still he was gone from home and he was working hard. In many ways I can tell through his letters that he's the same, but in others I can really tell that he's grown and learned so much about life, people and the gospel. I'm so glad that he has this opportunity to prepare him for so much that life will throw at him in the future. A year and a week left.

Part of Alex's letter to me:
God truly doesn't care what background we came from, what we've done in the past, or anything like that. If we truly turn to him, he will forget the past and say to us, "look at what you can become!" We too must do, as with all the commandments God gives us, as He would to all men. Not only does that mean those around us, but also ourselves. There is no need to look back and regret continually the past, because if we say within ourselves "I could have done better if I went back," that means that we have improved. I could say so much about that, but that is all I will write.

His letter to everyone:
Now I know the subject "Video Game Missionaries" sounds like AWOL missionaries, but let me explain. I am a video gamer, and therefore I have a very video game oriented mind. As I was biking around this week, I was thinking about the effect of missionaries. This caused me to think of video games that have different classes, one of which is a "cleric" in medieval themed games. To those who watch the game, cleric class players often seem like they don't do anything at all, only fight for themselves when they absolutely have no other choice, and seem to run around all willy-nilly. But in reality, wherever they go, they go for the purpose of healing the team, and keeping them alive. 

Missionaries are quite similar if you ask me. Most people would probably wonder exactly what it is that missionaries do, and the whole thing might seem pointless. But ours is a healing work, and wherever we go, we are to heal all those who come close to on the human team. That doesn't mean that we full-time missionaries are the only ones who do this, for every member is a missionary. We are all called to help save this world that is dying in the middle of enemy territory, and we do that through love, even the love of Christ. 

The kanji of the week is: 悪魔 pronounced "ah-coo-mah" and means devil. 

This week is really fuzzy in my head, so don't be surprised if this week isn't as detailed as usual. Monday, I don't have anything to say about the preparation day part, and in the evening we went to dinner with a less active member, and played ping-pong at the church with a spiritual message at the end. Tuesday we went to lunch with an english student, and after that the rest of the day was spent cleaning up our investigator Brother Yamamoto's house. It is really dirty, and we only got a part of the garage cleaned out, but it now looks a lot better than it did, and we have place set up to sit and talk and stuff like that.

Wednesday we again went to try and go to the sign language circle, but they didn't have it this week, so once again we didn't get to go. After that we had a good time with two different members, sharing short messages with them. Then we had english class, and we had some new students. It was lots of fun, and the students are opening up more and more!

Thursday was district meeting in the morning. It was good, and I learned from it, but I don't have anything in particular to say about it. The night before, my companion's tire decided it wanted to not fill up with air, so after district meeting and studies, we went to a bike shop to get it repaired. After that my memory is fuzzy.

Friday was mostly weekly planning, and I if I remember correctly we went to Brother Yamamoto's house after that. We talked for a little while, but I don't remember about what exactly.

Saturday was splits, and I worked with Elder A., the other zone leader in the district. We went out to hang up posters for english class, but as we were going around we got rained on, so we returned to get rain gear. After that we went to lunch with our other investigator, and his friend. It was lots of fun, and really good food too. As it was still raining, when we finished with that, we went to Brother Yamamoto's house again to help him clean up indoors a bit, and talked about how he feels his life has changed since starting to come to church. After that, we met some members, the other missionaries, an english student, one of the other missionaries' investigators, and our investigator's friend and went bowling. It was lots of fun, and we got to create great friendships between everyone.

Alex is the second player, so he scored a 110

Sunday was normal, and the lesson with Brother Yamamoto was great. We also were able to meet with a less active and read the Book of Mormon with him.

I hope that you all got something out of all this, and I love you all!


Elder ___________


Friday, October 2, 2015

Sopa de Zanahoria (Carrot Soup from Paraguay)

It's been very warm in Utah lately, but today is cloudy and chilly and good weather for soup. This is a super simple soup (like that alliteration?) and I like the color. This was the first time I made this soup that I found at and we'll be having it again.

Sopa de Zanahoria (Carrot Soup from Paraguay)

1/4 c. unsalted butter

1/2 lb. carrots, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar
2 c. hot water
2 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste

In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add carrots and stir until covered with butter. Add salt, sugar and hot water, then bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low, cover and cook until carrots are soft, about 20 minutes.

Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Put carrots in blender and add a little of the cooking liquid. Blend until smooth. Return to the saucepan with the remaining liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese, simmering until cheese melts and soup is the consistency of heavy cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Stage Name in Progress

My daughter Elisa has loved singing for years and has taught herself how to play guitar (and then took a class in school which she said was too beginning for her) and is starting to learn piano. She wants to blend all of that to major in vocal performance in college next year and then on to her dream of fame by being a singer. Not just any singer, but a singer who everyone knows her name....only she doesn't know her name yet. Her stage name at least. She doesn't want to use her real name, but nothing has jumped out at her yet.

I've been encouraging (or pushing) her to perform at an open mic night locally, but she hasn't done that yet. I've also been encouraging her to make some new videos and she finally did!! Yeah! This is her first solo singing video and the first where she is playing the guitar. She writes her own songs I in my slightly biased, but still legitimate opinion, they are amazing----AMAZING! So far she only wants to do covers for her videos, and she's working on her second video now. Hopefully she'll start adding her own music too. If you know her, you should encourage her to do that.

If you like it, she would be so excited if you subscribe to her channel Elisa G Music, like it, share, comment--- any or all of those!

Crysta, Elisa's best friend growing up, used to sing all the time with her. Crysta is also a very talented piano player and guitar player, which go along with her beautiful voice. They sang in a competition together and although they didn't win first place, they did win a trophy and time in a recording studio. That really spurred Elisa on getting to have so much fun (and lots of work) in a studio. Even though these are 3 years old and some are blurry, I want to share Elisa's earlier videos she made with Crysta on their old YouTube channel. Someday when she's famous these will be golden. Hehe

Monday, September 28, 2015


A few things from Alex's email to me:
I can't believe that Elder Scott died! Soon all the apostles that have been around for all my life will be gone.

(His comment when I mentioned something I saw while watching the LDS series about missionaries called The District.) The District is one of the things that is in all the apartments of missionaries, and we watch it a lot; especially as we train or get trained. It is interesting to try and figure out what those missionaries could have done better, and sometimes I wish I could have someone filming me so I could do it for myself. 

Recently the elders were having a talk in our apartment how all the
members grow up while the elders are always the same age, and how that
makes missionaries seem like Peter Pan; we never grow up. Where as all
aspects of my life don't seem to be like I'm living in Neverland,
sometimes I feel like I will be here forever, and most of the time I
wish I could. If it were not for the chance to meet my family again,
as well as the eventual saving ordinances I will receive with a to be
eternal companion in a temple of God, whoever that may be (both of
which aren't allowed as a full time young missionary of the Church), I
would more than willingly live this life, with these people, until the
day I die.

The kanji of the week is: 最近 pronounced "sigh-keen" and means "recently."

Monday we had a picnic with the ward, and an English class student and
one of our investigators came. It was lots of fun, and the closeness
of a park to the church was helpful too (there is a big pond and a
park right next to the church). Right after that we emailed for a bit
more (we didn't have too much time before hand to do so), and did all
the basic preparation day stuff. In the evening, the members left some
of the leftovers for us at the church, and it took us all evening to
get it packaged and clean all the dishes. It wasn't exactly what I
wanted to do, but it had to be done.

Tuesday we went to go visit a less active, but no one answered the door. We also tried to visit Brother Yamamoto (one of our investigators), but he wasn't home. We then went to try and find some free English or Japanese classes to try and find that way, but that day was a holiday, so everything related to city run things were closed. Nearby was a sword exhibit, and there were a lot of people going in and out, so we thought we'd try and talk to people there; unfortunately not much came from it though. After that we went and tried to visit a less active member, but there was a guy there who said he wasn't the person we were looking for. So, we went to Brother Nakamura's house (a member). We did a practice lesson, and it went well. We also got to talk and get to know him better. He loves birds, and calls himself the Morioka bird man, so I was happy to talk about birds with him (yes I like birds, although I don't know much about them). We also went and handed out fliers for English class in the evening.

Wednesday was wacky. I don't know if that's what I would call it, but
I wanted to alliterate. In the morning we went to try and try out a
sign language circle, but it was a holiday again (this week is called
silver week in Japan), so they didn't have it. We went and had lunch
and did studies, and then went to Brother Yamamoto's house. We watched
the restoration video with him and talked a bit about it afterwards.
We then went to the church and one of the English class students
brought a kimono that she let the elders try on. She also showed us
how to properly fold it, and some other cool things about how you wear
kimonos depending on certain conditions. Not too long after that, we
had English class. Everyone is still pretty quiet, but they're pretty
good at English.

Thursday we had district training meeting in the morning followed by
going on splits again. I went back to Miyako, but this time I went
with my old companion Elder T. We first went to visit a less
active with two other members and read the Book of Mormon together. It
was a good read, and the atmosphere was good. We then went to the
church and had a lesson with an investigator that we went to last week
on splits. There wasn't too much focus this time on anyone's part
because of the investigator's kid, but that should not have been an
excuse, and isn't. After that we finished our studies.

Friday was spent entirely in traveling and weekly planning, so I don't
have too much exciting things to talk about that day.

Saturday we went over to Brother Yamamoto's house, but we didn't
really get to talk about the gospel too much, because he was very
talkative. After that we did street contacting, and got two copies of
the Book of Mormon out, and one of them we might play ping-pong with
soon. It started raining towards the end, so we abandoned our endeavor
(we didn't have umbrellas), and went to the church and set up for a
meeting on how to improve English class. That was how we ended the

Sunday was a pretty normal morning and sacrament meeting. We got to
also have a lesson with Brother Yamamoto who came again during the
second hour, and a member came to help out. It really did help,
because Brother Yamamoto was very focused and could feel the spirit.
After church and studies, we went to visit a less active, Brother
Imamatsu. We have been meeting with him at least once each week, and
he is starting to really progress. He lives far away, so that was just
about all we got to do.

That's my week! I hope you all enjoyed it, and got something out of
it. Love you all!


Elder _____________

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Lazy Day Workout Videos Part 2

All the way back in April, I did a post called Lazy Day Workout Videos Part 1, but I hadn't done a Part 2. Yesterday I decided to try a new workout on YouTube and quickly found one of many workout videos by Cassey Ho on her channel Blogilates. I did 4 different "6 Minute" sculpting workouts, which I am posting here, but she has lots of different workouts on her channel and also videos about healthy eating, etc. 

I think the original name of the blog post "Lazy Day Workout Videos" isn't very accurate, even though none of these 4 require shoes. These are short videos, but they are pretty intense. I have so far only done them yesterday and today and I can already feel a bit more muscle under my flab. 

This requires no weights, but don't let that fool you. Your arms will burn! Kinda reminds me of the arm exercises my dad would do with us kids when he was in the army. "Keep your arms up."